Monday, 4 July 2011

Arduino : Sleep_Fade Project part 2

I tested my project with the Kids and changed some things.

  • Removed : TIP120
  • Removed : LED Ring
  • Added : 4 Super bright LED
  • Added : A USB connector

To reduce size and cost, I removed the LED Ring and use 4 LED instead. Since this doesn't need too much power I removed the TIP120.
I added a USB connector so they can charge a MP3 player on it.

How it works:

  • Red button activate the reading time and the LEDs
  • After 15 minutes the LEDs blink and the buzzer alert that it's time to stop reading
  • The 4 LEDs slowly fade until Off (set to 90 minutes)
  • The blue button reset the Fade Off to 90 minutes.

Next steps :

  • Modification to the USB connector to help charging devices (some need the data line)
  • Code modification
  • Maybe a reset switch or I will use the 2 buttons at the same time.....

Will wait for X minutes before fading the Output

Nicolas Gravel

V. 1.0.2
July 3rd, 2011

// constants won't change. They're used here to 
// Use only ATtiny85 or Arduino pins initialisation

// set pin numbers: ATtiny85
const int MainLED =  0;      // Main LED + TIP120 for External light
const int Buzzer = 1;        // Piezo
const int Button1 = 2;       // Main button Start the waiting time before Fading Time
const int StatusLED = 3;     // Heartbeat LED
const int Button2 = 4;       // Start or Reset the Fading Timer.

// Set pin number : Arduino
const int MainLED =  11;     // Main LED + TIP120 for External light
const int Buzzer = 12;       // Piezo
const int Button1 = 7;       // Main button Start the waiting time before Fading Time
const int StatusLED = 13;    // Heartbeat LED
const int Button2 = 8;       // Start or Reset the Fading Timer.
// 5minutes=300, 15 minutes=900, 60 minutes=3600, 90minutes=5400, 120minutes=7200
// variables will change:

int TimeToWait = 900;        // -> How many seconds before the FadeOut will start <- Can be adjust
int TimeFade = 5400;         // -> On how many seconds the FadeOut will be        <- Can be adjust

int TimeWait = -5;           // Waiting Timer
int TimeFadeLeft = 0;        // Time Left in the FadeOut process
int Interval = 5000;         // HeartBeat delay
long PreviousMillis = 0;     // will store last time we enter the Loop ( each second)          
int Ledstate = LOW;          // Used for the Hartbeat LED. This help for blink from Mostly ON or OFF

void setup() {
  // initialize the OUTPUT pin:
  pinMode(MainLED, OUTPUT);      
  // initialize the pushbutton pin as an input:
  pinMode(Button1, INPUT);

void loop(){

  // read the state of the pushbutton value:
  if(digitalRead(Button2)==LOW) //I have a NC button instead of a NO
  { // Button2 will only reset FadceOut Timer
    TimeWait = -2;

  { //Button1 Start Waiting Time before FadeOut Timer
    TimeWait = TimeToWait;
  { // Turn Buzzer Off

  unsigned long currentMillis = millis();
  if(currentMillis - PreviousMillis > Interval)
    PreviousMillis = currentMillis;   
    { // Blink Status LED. StatusLED will be mostly ON When in Waiting time
      // or mostly off when Fading or when done.
    if(TimeWait == 0)
      // Mostly Done waiting. Turn StatusLED Off
    else if(TimeWait > 0)
      //Waiting ....
    else if(TimeWait == -1)
      //Done Waiting. 
    else if (TimeWait == -5)
      //Startup State do nothing please
     //Fading OUT Started
     if(TimeFadeLeft > -1)
       int x;
       x = map(TimeFadeLeft, 0, TimeFade, 0, 255); //Map the LED value (0-255) to the TimeFade (0-xx)
       //Serial.print("Fade X now is : ");
       //Serial.print("Fade Left is : ");
        //All done ! StatusLED blink only every 5 sec.

void StartFadeOut()
  //FadeOut initialization
  Ledstate = HIGH;
  Interval = 1000;

void MainFlash()
  // Flash MainLED and Buzzer 3 Times.
  for (int i=0; i <= 2; i++)
    analogWrite(MainLED, 0);   // set the LED OFF
    delay(100);              // wait 
    analogWrite(MainLED, 255);    // set the LED ON

Sunday, 3 July 2011

Arduino : Sleep_Fade Project

My Problem :
My kids always read in the bed before sleep time. We gave them like 15 minutes with a flashlight and they like that. But now, we have a major problem : the Flashlight have a good effect on the fatigue but a bad one on the Eyes. Optometrist told us to stop that and let them read with a bigger light. Now the problem is that kids doesn't want to sleep after the Reading delay because of the Bigger light so they don't always stop at the correct time. Another problem, they have a Lava Lamp as a night light. This is a very beautiful light but much too bright to help them falling asleep.

My Solution :
A small Night Light with a built In Timer that will alert when it's time to close the Room light and with a Night Light that will fade slowly until turning off.  With that , Kids will know when to Sleep and should slowly fall asleep. No more fear about the dark when the light turn Off.

Next steps:

  • Need a case
  • Test with Kids ;-)


First real board

Thursday, 9 June 2011

Arduino : My first mini Shield

I'm currently working on a small Arduino project (future Post) and I want to put all that on a ATtiny85 Microcontroller (smaller, cheaper).
I found a tutorial about how to program the ATtiny85 from the Arduino board and that works really well.
I only had to add a resistor on the Arduino Reset pin as noted on that Blog.

Because I need my Arduino Board and I don't want to have to connect all wires every time I want to program my tiny85, I made a Shield. So now, I only need to put my tiny85 on the Shield and the Shield on the Arduino.

Ok, it's not so beautiful but it works well :-)

Monday, 9 May 2011

Prusa HBP and Hot End

I received my Heated Bed from Ultimachine and I need to have a solid base to put it on. I already had a board of wood but I'm sure it's not a good idea to put a Heated Bed that can go up to 110C on top of that. So I choose to make one in ceramic. I found one at the Home Depot for only 2$ and I cut it to the correct size. Harder part was to make the holes. Now I will install the HBP on top of that  maybe with magnets, i'm not sure yet. Other way will be to drill 4 other holes but it was such a pain to make the first 4, i don't think i want to go that way again ;-) .
Drilling holes in ceramic plate
Ceramic plate mounted in place
HBP / Wood / ceramic

I also printed my extruder as the one from GregFrost on Thingiverse. I added a lever from Jag  for easy filament replacement. I build the HotEnd that I received from Techzone and now I need to install it on the Extruder. I need to find a way to make sure it will stay there and support the pressure. I hope to not have too much problem with that extruder ....bad memories from the MK4 .....

Techzone Hot End

Wednesday, 4 May 2011

My Prusa start to look like a Prusa ;-)

So many things since the last post :-)
I recveived my belt from Ultimachine (I didn't find anything local) but I needed to remove the Gear from motors. I wasn't able to remove that be hand or with my mouth ;-).
I't now time to use the Dremel !
Was not an easy job. I also had to make a flat surface on the shaft for the screw to hold the gear.

X Y and Z motors now in place and working. I also place the Techzone board in my case. At the end I will put the cover to protect the board from anything that can go there. Almost all cables are well placed.

EndStop connected but some are not fixed well for now. I need to check for the Y axis , I don't have any thing to trigger the sensor right now.

Next, I need to :
- Wait for my heated bed from Ultimachine
- Wait for my 8" X 8" Kapton film from Makergear
- Try to like Repsnapper. I really don't feel that software. Maybe it's because i'm with ReplicatorG for so long....
- Find a way to change the Z settings to make it moving for 1mm instead of the like 10mm for now.
- Print and install the extruder from GregFrost

If someone have any idea on how to make the Monotronic board working in ReplicatorG, let me know please !!!

Tuesday, 5 April 2011

Prusa : on it's way !

Yes !
I received my motors. I found them on eBay for about 55$ with the shipping for 8 of them. Good deal.
So, I started to work a little more on my Prusa. The Z stage is done but need some adjustment. I think I will look to find another coupler. I don't like the one from the Prusa Plate.
I now need to find Belts,  I didn't find anything locally. I was thinking to use some from old printer but after dismantling many printers nothing can be use for that.
Next steps : Z stage adjustment, X carriage, and extruder.

Sunday, 27 March 2011

Just received the electronics for my Prusa

I just received my new Monolithic electronics from Techzonecom for my Prusa.
Looks great and very small when compared with the Gen 3 on my Cupcake.
TechZone also sent me a Extruder Tip for free because they lost my order and it took longer than expected to revive it. This is something that show you when a company want to satisfy clients and not only take there money.
I also order a Thermocouple addon in case i want to add a HBP.
Strange things is that the two converter are not the same. One look to have a MOSFET and not the other. Will  ask them but I think one can only show temperature and can't control the heating....
I also only receive one Thermocouple wire. Maybe I had to order one by myself, anyway that only cost 1$.
Now, i'm waiting for the motors from eBay.

Friday, 11 March 2011

Choisir son imprimante 3D

This post, in French, is to help on 3D printer selection. Nothing scientific, only my opinion.

Plusieurs personnes me demandent de l’information sur les imprimantes 3D. Voici donc un petit résumé sur les possibilités d’achats. Il y a surement beaucoup d’autre options, surtout que le monde de l’impression 3D change très rapidement. Ceci est basé sur mes connaissances.

Pour commencer il y a les modèles à poudre.
Le procédé à poudre est vraiment bien mais Extrêmement couteux. Environ 15k$ pour partir et le matériel (cartouche) coute assez cher.
Le produit qui en sort est très fragile et demande un traitement pour le nettoyer et le solidifier.
C’est un produit professionnel, pas vraiment pour s’amuser.

Le procédé Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM) quant a lui ne demande pas de finition (ou presque).
Avant de vous lancer dans l’achat, vous devez vous poser certaine questions :
1-   Est-ce que je veux un appareil prêt à l’emploi ou bien je veux avoir la chance de le construire moi-même ?
2-   Quel est mon budget ? Est-ce que mon but est de payer le moins cher possible ?
3-   Est-ce que j’ai un besoin spécifique pour la grosseur des objets à imprimer ?

Répondre à ces questions va vous aider grandement dans le choix de votre imprimante.

Modèles prêt à l’emploi
Ces imprimantes sont beaucoup plus cher que les autres mais offre généralement un support de la compagnie. Vous devez choisir un de ces modèles si votre but est de déballer l’appareil et d’imprimer dans l’heure qui suit.

Un très beau model avec la plus grande surface pour l’impression (275 x 275 x 210mm).
Peu imprimer directement d’une carte SD sans avoir besoin d’un ordinateur.

Plus petit que le précédent (140 x 140 x 135mm) comprenant son propre logiciel.
Il utilise un filament ABS de 1.75mm ce qui était un problème au début car il était le seul à utiliser cette grosseur. Maintenant plusieurs endroit offre ce produit.
Le désavantage de cette imprimante est la quasi impossibilité de le modifier et Il utilise un logiciel propriétaire.

Le moins cher directement basé sur les Mendel ( Plateforme de 200 x200 x 140mm.
Solution entièrement modifiable, fait à partir de pièces provenant d’une imprimante 3D.

Les kits demandent pas mal de temps avant de pouvoir imprimer pour la première fois. Il faut compter un bon 8 heures et beaucoup plus pour calibrer l’appareil correctement. Par contre, les nouveaux produits sont de plus en plus précis et fiable.

C’est pas mal les premiers à avoir offert un Kit complet pas cher. (Le CupCake coutait 650$) L'avantage de faire affaire avec eux: Support technique, possibilité de faire remplacer des pièces si défectueuses et bien documenté. 
Par contre c’est la surface d'impression la plus petite. (96 x 108 x 100(?) mm).

L’avantage de ce kit est la disponibilité pour le Canada puisque depuis peu, il est disponible via On élimine donc les frais de douane (qui peuvent êtres très élevés). Les spécifications sont très semblables au Glider 3.0.

Kit complet du même genre que le Glider 2.1. Makergear est reconnu pour ses composantes de qualitées.

En dernier lieu, il y a la possibilité de tout faire vous-même.
Je ne conseil pas ca pour la première fois car c’est assez exigeant de trouver toutes les pièces nécessaires. Le mieux est de commencer par un Kit et d’apprendre à le configurer comme il le faut.

Dans votre choix, veuillez ne pas oublier les couts de livraison et de dédouanage si acheté en dehors de votre pays

Bon magasinage !

Monday, 7 March 2011

PLA - Not a easy thing

I receive my first little spool of PLA from Ultimachine. Wow ! They also sent me 2 samples of PLA in Black and Green. Thanks Guys ! I will use them to try to  print for the first time with PLA.

First : As I wanted to remove my ABS from my MK5, I heated it to 210. I removed the ABS and Set to 180 for the first test. I think this was a little to hot . The PLA was too soft even in the Tube that go to the head. Result : the PLA cannot be push without deformation. I even had problem to remove it from the MK5 :-(
I turn it off to cool it down for 15 minutes to be sure all parts are cooler. Now I set that to 150C and I can push PLA by hand to the extruder. Test extrusion also works well at that temperature.

Second : The HBP (Hot Build Platform) need some changes. PLA doesn't look to stick well on Kapton. I tested with some blue tape and it look to stick BUT not so much.... I think I have temperature problem. Don't know if it's on the HBP (set at 50C) or the Extrusion (150C) but each layer doesn't look to stick well on the previous one. Now I think to try with Glass but that mean some modification to my plate.
I'm currently using an HBP V1 from Makergear, so I don't have any bolt on top (this is cool when printing) to screw other thing on top.
I will try to add a metal layer between my HBP and the Glass to help heat exchange. I think I will just test by taping the Glass to the plate.

So, a slow start but at least the basics work. Now I need to make it working as if it was ABS.
My first goal is to print Prusa Bushing in PLA.

Side note : PLA Smell good ;-)

Thursday, 24 February 2011

My try with Prusa

It's now time to use my Cupcake to what is should do : Printing a printer.
I decided to make the SAE version from spacexula because i have many problem to find Metric hardware here in Quebec City, Canada.
So I paid about 18$ for all rods. Not too bad.
I have almost all parts printed but waiting for my bearing. I found 10 for 1$ + 7$ for shipping on eBay. Hope they will not take too long.
I also found some stepper motors on eBay but don't know if they are good for that project. I need to search.
I also need to decide on the electronics I will buy and the extruder.
I know that Gen4 from Makerbot have place for more things and I like that. I don't want to buy something that will limit me or that need to be change in a month.
I need something that can handle : XYZ stepper motors, Extruder Stepper motor, HBP, FAN, LCD and why not a second extruder since MBI released a water soluble PVA .
I don't know if the RAMPS can handle all that....
Anyway, I have some time to think about that, MBI Gen4 and RAMPS from Ultimachine are out of stock.

Maybe I will continue to print Prusa pieces and sell them to future Canadian builder...

Thursday, 17 February 2011

My Thing in ReplicatorG 024

I'm really happy today.
I just found that my filament Dust Remover for MK5 on Thingiverse is now part of the ReplicatorG 024 software.
YES !! They added some examples and my thing is in the section : "Examples \ Upgrades \ Makerbot".

Monday, 7 February 2011

Makerbot #453 : Why do we need a Dust Remover.....

I'm really happy that many people like my Filament Dust Remover.
If some of you don't care about having one, this picture may help you to choose to have one....

Friday, 4 February 2011

Makerbot #453 : Finally, my first big print

Oh yea !
Now it's real, I was able to make the first plate of a Prusa. Little warp found but for a start it's good.
I really need something to hold my filament so it will feed the extruder without intervention.
It took 5h30 to print that plate. Don't know if it's normal....Anyway, it print :-)


Sunday, 30 January 2011

Makerbot #453 : My HBP wanted more juice

I had some problem with my HBP. It look like it was because the power had some problem reaching is target...
In fact, I have a HBP from Makergear and it's cool it can be remove but that can also, in some case (like now), result on some bad connection.
So now, I connected the power directly to the HBP, no more from the screws.
With that, Now I can reach my target faster and it keep it .
Wireless can be good, but never as fast as a Wire ;-)

Monday, 17 January 2011

Makerbot #453 : is it my MK5 Motor that killed my Extruder board ??

Happy new year all !
I decided to start 2011 well by trying to make my CupCake working.
I had many problems with the new MK5 and wasn't able to make a single good print.
Now I know why the motor was stopping....because it was defect.
The motor look to be the problem. I installed the old one from my MK4 and it print Well.
To be sure, I tested again witht the MK5 and.... BANG !! The MOSFET explode...
Bouhouhou ! So sad...
Anyway. By chance we have now the possibility to switch to the second MOSFET in ReplicatorG.
Now, with my first motor, i'm printing and all works !
One thing I noticed : With the MK5 extruder, the heat going to the motor look to be higher than with the MK4.
If you add the HBP you have a pretty amount of heat going to your motor.
So, I decided to add a small Fan to help with the heat dissipation.
I connected the Fan to the same power source as the Motor to reduce the number of cable going there.